Wednesday, February 20, 2008

U.S. presses N. Korea on overdue declaration of Pyongyang's nuclear activities

We need to enforce their agreements and should have before they got anything from us...

From The Washington Times:
The United States, alarmed by mounting evidence that North Korea gave nuclear assistance to Syria, has rejected pressure from some of its partners in six-nation talks to compromise on an overdue declaration of Pyongyang's nuclear activities, U.S. officials said yesterday.

The declaration, which was due at the end of December, would complete the second phase of an October deal aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and clear the way for promised political and economic benefits to the communist state.

"We won't have a complete and correct declaration until we have a complete and correct declaration," Christopher R. Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator, said yesterday after meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, in Beijing. "So I'm not sure if we yet have an understanding on that."

The Syrian connection has become a major problem for the United States since an Israeli air strike in Syria in September. The target was widely reported to be a nuclear facility under construction with help from North Korea. Current and former U.S. officials said yesterday that intelligence points to a plutonium-related facility.

Yesterday, Mr. Hill said the North's declaration must account for the Syrian connection. "We discussed all of the elements that we believe need to be included, including the Syrian matter and uranium enrichment," he said of his talks with Mr. Kim.

U.S. and Israeli officials have refused to talk about the September strike, but diplomats and analysts said even the administration's strongest advocates of engagement with Pyongyang are worried by what they have learned from intelligence sources.
It is widely accepted that the Israeli strike on Syria was to take out a nuclear facility. It is believed that N. Korea played a roll in it's construction, so this is important.

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